Kia to build electric cars in India by late 2019


2019 Kia Niro EV

2019 Kia Niro EV

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Kia will spend $1 billion on a new assembly plant in southern India to build an electric car for that market by late 2019. The move comes just over a decade before India intends to ban the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles.

Just what form an Indian-market electric Kia will take remains unknown, especially since the automaker doesn't currently sell cars there. The Times of India reported Tuesday that the 23 million square-foot assembly plant will also build a small hatchback. Other Kia models sold in India will be imported.

Additionally, Autocar India reported Tuesday that Kia plans to have five models on sale in India by 2019.

Earlier this year, Kia debuted an electric concept version of its Niro crossover that its intending to produce. When it eventually goes on sale in the U.S., the Niro EV electric car is expected to boast a 236-mile range.

It's not clear if the Niro EV would make sense for Kia to sell in India, where the World Bank estimates per-capita income is about $1,700.

Kookhyun Shim, Kia's top executive in India, told the newspaper that the plant will be capable of building 300,000 cars annually. Kia will build the plant in rural Anantapur District not far from Hyderabad.

 
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